Monday, March 28, 2011

Signed our lives away, again

On Sunday we went back to our block and cut down the jungle that has grown with all the rain we had over summer. With at least 5 more weeks before Henley might start building we couldn't leave it any longer.

We signed our contract with Henley today, 9 weeks after putting the deposit down. Other than how much we are going to owe the bank after all this, we are very happy with the decision to switch to Henley and the Talise Q2.

We also told the pool company to get moving on installing the pool, we expect they will get that down before Easter and Henley would start not long after Easter.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Moment of Truth

The tender meeting went extremely well.

The site costs were reasonable and no surprises. If anything they came in less than we expected.

The modifications to the plan were also less than we expected. We added a vanity outside the kid's bathroom, much like we had at our former house. We also added 1m across the middle, extending the dining room, laundry and bathroom. These changes were accepted by Henley with little fuss.

The electricals came to more than I had planned, but we included nearly all the fittings and in the end not having to worry about installing later seemed worth it.

We came to a reasonable arrangement with the pool in terms of OH&S. In addition to boarding it up after installation, we will pay for a temporary builders fence around it.

So the floor plan we have agreed to is

The site plan with the pool is

We came away feeling very relieved and believe we made better choices based on what we learnt from the previous builder.

Contract will be ready at the end of the month, hopefully they will start on the site in May and we will have moved in by Christmas.

Back to the future

Back to Henley we went with our tails between our legs.

Henley have started 2011 with a "War on New House Prices" suggesting that they have reduced house prices. The base prices were lower for most plans, including the Talise, but they have also removed some of the standard inclusions, so to get back to 2010 inclusions you are actually worse off. Regrettably we had ask for our previous deposit to be returned so we had not locked in the 2010 prices. There is still no display of the Talise either, despite some of the new 2011 plans being built.

However after sitting down again with the same sales staff who still had our previous inclusions on file, we appeared to be well ahead of the Barwon on cost. So we paid our deposit again but this time carried through all the way to tender.

Colour selections went well, although the bricks and floor boards we had pre-selected been withdrawn due to "production issues". On other things we were definitely happier with what we choose at Henley, but I think that was due to having another go rather than having better options.

Roof Tiles: Bristlie Magnum

Guttering: Ironstone

Bricks: Boral Mocha (which had the variation we were after)

Windows: Merino (ie Colourbond Paperbark)

Garage Door: Ranch (raised rectangular panels) in Ironstone

  • Tasmanian Oak Laminate Boards (Entry, Hall, Kitchen, Dining, Living)
  • Carpet (Lounge, Study and Bedrooms)

Kitchen: 2x600mm ovens side by side with a gas cooktop

  • Evaporative Cooling
  • 5-star Zoned Gas Heating
  • Solar Hot Water
  • Double Glazed Windows

Next step is the tender meeting where we will learn the cost of some modifications we requested to the plan and the engineering costs for the slab.

Slight change in plans

Going into Christmas we thought we soon have a slab, frame, walls, but little did we know the engineering report had already come back requiring a suspended P-class and tree root barriers around nearly the entire slab. Fairhaven called us while we were on holiday and we dropped by the office to get the run down.

To cut a long story short, despite the lack of trees of any size on three sides of the house, the builder wasn't willing the challenge the engineering report and suggested that pay pay an Arborist to assess the trees. It seemed very different from my line of work where you can still challenge an auditor to justify their findings.

The Arborist report said one tree in one corner might be a problem, but by this time we had already gone back to Henley. To be honest, I had always preferred the Talise plan to the Barwon so that did give us a chance to have another look.